Wolves 0-2 Brentford

By Tom Bason
October 22 2015

Wolves last night lost 2-0 to Brentford as a disappointing performance added to a disappointing result. Marco Djuricin gave Brentford an early lead, before Philipp Hofmann wrapped up the points in the 88th minute.

- Kenny Jackett made two changes to the team that lost 4-2 to Derby County on Sunday, with Jack Price again paying the price (no pun intended) for a poor team performance, with Connor Coady replacing him. In addition, Jed Wallace was left out as Sheyi Ojo came in on the left wing. I felt sorry for Price, which I'll come onto a little bit later, and also for Wallace. He came into the team in a tough game against Derby, and is left out for a game he might be expected to see a bit more of the ball in.

- We didn't start the game particularly well, and that pretty much set the tone for the game. An early trend to the game was Ryan Woods having space down the right hand side to whip in a number of crosses. Woods didn't particularly have the pace to trouble Scott Golbourne, but was able to deliver a number of dangerous balls into the box. We've had issues down the left hand flank all season, with Bakary Sako unsurprisingly being difficult to replace. I felt sorry for Golbourne at times playing behind Sako, but they developed a reasonably good partnership. However, Golbourne has struggled this season; I don't think the fact that he has played behind a number of different left-wingers this season has helped him.

 - My first impressions of Connor Coady were not great, and I've not seen a huge amount to upgrade my opinion of him yet. I don't reallykmow  he's  a huge amount to upgrade my opinion of him yet. I don't really know what his role in the team is supposed to be, but I think he has two main faults as a defensive midfielder. Firstly, he is very slow on the ball. Not in terms of his movements, but in terms of how long it takes him to move the ball on. He has a tendency of taking four or five touches when only a couple are needed. This can slow down our play, and allow the opposition to get back into position. Kevin McDonald also does this, but his passing when he does play the ball tends to have more effect.

- The second issue that I have with Coady is that when he and McDonald are paired together, they don't really protect the defence. I'm not sure that either of them are particularly good at cutting off the angles for passes played into the forwards; it was far too easy for Brentford’s midfield to find their forwards, who could then hold the ball up and bring other players into play. I do feel that Jack Price is the sort of player who can block those angles off; I feel that the defence generally is better protected when Price plays than when he doesn't. No, Price isn't the typical sort of tough tackling midfielder that you automatically think of when you think of an ideal defensive midfielder, but I really think he's our most effective player there.

- Conversely, our forwards were isolated from the midfield. I know a lot of fans don't like Benik Afobe dropping back as much as he does on occasion, but when he doesn't, the strikers can be cut off from the rest of the team. We had a tendency to try and hit long balls to Afobe and Adam Le Fondre, which really isn't their forte. As a result, possession was often lost. When we did try and build up with possession, it was slow and ponderous, with Brentford finding it easy to regain their position. The only time we did break with any real sort of pace, Ojo forced a save from David Button in the Brentford goal.

- At halftime, I got excited because Jack Price was the only sub not warming up, and I thought he might be coming on. I can't really understand Jackett’s reluctance to play Price; he only ever seems to be on the verge of the first team, and I’m not sure he’s ever really had a secure first team place; even in League One, he was often left out for a midfield of McDonald, Lee Evans and David Edwards. Even when Price is getting a run of games, he only ever seems to be an average performance away from being dropped. He wasn't great against Derby on Sunday, but I felt it was harsh for him to be left out today.

- So, seven minutes into the second half, Price and Rajiv van La Parra came on for Ojo and James Henry, who was having one of his bad days. We switched to a 4-3-3 formation, which was slightly lopsided. Price sat in front of the defence, with McDonald to his left and Coady to his right. McDonald played reasonably centrally, while Coady played more as a shuttler, moving from the middle of the park out to the right. This was presumably to allow Benik Afobe the license to drift off the flank. On the other side, van La Parra played more as an orthodox winger, looking to attack his fullback.

- Whether it was the change in formation, or as Brentford naturally started to sit back a bit, we gained a bit more impetus. With Price in midfield, we had a player who plays sharp, crisp passes forward (one pass to van La Parraa, that directly led to Afobe slicing a good opportunity over the bar, was excellent), and with McDonald and Coady having slightly more freedom, they could get between the lines of Brentford’s midfield and defence. In addition, van La Parra gave us a little more pace, causing problems down the left without ever having a final ball. But, he gave us something different. I did feel that this was a formation that would have suited Ojo more; I'm not sure that the 4-4-2 we started with suits him particularly, but playing on the left hand side of a front three may bring more out of him.

- Adam Le Fondre. Boy did he run a lot tonight; I don't know where to get hold of stats on how far players run, but I'd be surprised if he wasn't towards the top of the list for last night’s game, and especially for sprinting. But, I'm not sure I want him in our first team. As an impact sub, I think he'd be great. But a regular starter? I'm yet to be convinced. Playing Afobe and Le Fondre as forwards can put a lot of pressure on the rest of the team, and the team can look disjointed at without any cohesion. I thought we looked a lot better when we moved to 4-3-3, with Coady, McDonald and Price in midfield giving us slightly more control. Having a base of those three, potentially allows us to play a more adventurous front three; for Saturday, I'd be tempted to play the same team as finished tonight, but with Ojo on the flank with Afobe playing as a central striker. It might not work, but it can't be much worse than the dire first half performance we saw last night.

pqs: qs:
Wolves 0-2 Brentford
Posted by: Wolves (IP Logged)
Date: 22/10/2015 11:56

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